Whether you're just starting out with a content marketing strategy, or you've been using the same approach for a while, it can never hurt to revisit your strategy. It’s best to check and make sure it's up-to-date, innovative, and engaging for your prospects and customers, no matter when or how they intend to buy.
Having a solid, smart content marketing plan gives you a leg up on the competition.
In this article, we'll dive into what content strategy is, why your business needs a content marketing plan, and how to create a content marketing plan.
A content strategy is a method of using content as a primary means to achieve business goals.
For instance, your business goals might include increasing brand awareness to do this, you might focus on SEO to increase website visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and drive traffic to your website.
With 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing, it's critical you develop a good content strategy to compete in your industry.
Who's the target audience for your content? How many audiences are you creating content for? Your content strategy can target more than one type of reader or viewer just as you may have different demographics that buy your product/service.
Using a variety of content types and channels will help you deliver different content to each type of audience you have in mind and engage different audiences.
Ideally, your product/service solves a problem you know your audience has. By the same token, your content should educate your audience through this problem as they begin to identify and address it.
A sound content strategy supports people on both sides of your product: those who are still figuring out what their challenges are, and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges. Your content reinforces the solution(s) you're offering and teaches your customers how to best make use of your product or service.
Your competitors may have a similar product as yours, which means your potential customers need to know what makes yours different and possible even better.
In order to prove why you're worth buying from, you need to prove why you're worth listening to with great content that helps your reader.
What forms will your content take? Infographics? Videos? Articles? Having identified the topics you want to take a talk about, you'll need to determine which formats would best serve your audience.
Just as you can create content in different formats, you'll also have different platforms you can publish to. Channels can include owned properties, such as your website and blog; and social media properties, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
How you’ll create and publish content can be an annoying and time-consuming task so it’s important to keep track of who’s creating what, where it’s being published an when it’s planned to go live.
Content marketing is useful to generate cost-effective traffic and leads for your business. If you can make just one article or video that gets reliable organic traffic you can continue to drive traffic to a website long after you’ve pressed publish.
Writing long form content or producing video content also gives you reusable content that can be shared across your marketing platforms long into the future.
Why are you developing a content marketing plan?
You need to Know your goals before you begin your plan, your goals will also help define what should be featured in your strategy.
You need to clearly define your content's target audience order to help develop your content strategy. Who you are writing content for should define how you write.
If you’re working for a SaaS company and your ideal customer is large fintech companies, you could write content for various people within those organisations and need to write differently for each. For example, CEOs are more likely to care about growth and how it will make the company more money and managers will likely care more about how you can speed up their work and make their department more efficient.
By knowing and understanding your target audience, you can create relevant and valuable content that they'll be interested in and want to read.
Look at the content you are currently producing and see if there are opportunities to improve older pieces or venture out and try other types of content like podcasts, or video content.
If you review your content marketing efforts and what results came from them you can identify what worked, what you can do differently and perhaps notice and take advantages of trends.
Have a system where you can create, manage, and track your content. This is known as a content management system (CMS). CMS often include content creation, content publication, and content analytics. You can also get plugins/tools that help you optimise content for search engines in real time such as Yoast.
Now, it's time to start coming up with ideas for your content.
A few ways you can come up with content ideas:
There are a so many content types out there that you can choose from. In the next section, we'll discuss some of the most popular content formats.
Your marketing/content plan should go beyond the types of content you'll create, it should also cover how you'll organise your content. This can be done in many ways but using an editorial calendar and a social media calendar will help you stay ahead of things and align your content team with your social team.
When thinking of content ideas, it’s worth considering if the content is Evergreen, this means that the content is just as relevant months or years from now as it is today. However timely topics can be useful if used correctly.
Most people incorporate holidays such as New Year's, Christmas and Pride in their marketing efforts, but while these would generate spikes in volume, they wouldn’t drive reliable traffic the entire year.
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